U.S.A. WRAP-UP - 17th October, 1996

"World Day of Action Against McDonald's"

There were 9 arrests, some activists were injured -- and one McDonald's was sabotaged -- in the U.S. Wednesday (Oct. 16) as anti-McDonald's activists in an estimated 50 U.S. cities blocked drive-thrus, disrupted business and hung banners calling the multi-million dollar fast food giant a "murderer."
Included are some of the highlights from some groups reporting in:


There were five arrests near San Francisco at a Santa Cruz McDonald's when two activists scaled the store's roof to drop a banner. Police were on the scene immediately and handcuffed and dragged activists across the roof face-first. One rooftop activist was kicked in the face by police, and slammed repeatedly into pipes and air conditioning ducts. The other rooftopper was later taken to the hospital with a possible concussion as a result of the brutal treatment. On the ground, other activists from Santa Cruz Animal Rights (SCAR) and Bay Area Animal Rights Direct Action Coalition (BAARDAC) locked onto chair and tables inside McDeath with kryptonite locks. Despite taunts from redneck patrons, who shoved Big Macs in their faces, the activists maintained. Police later ejected and arrested three of the activists, and dragged one of them out by her hair. Activists in support were forced to lock their car doors and windows when a crowd at the McMurder started toward them with baseball bats. All 5 activists were cited and released less than 2 hours later, and the injured activist was released from the hospital, a little groggy. She is supposed to be monitored to see if, indeed, she has a concussion. There was print and television coverage.


There were also four arrests in Minneapolis, where SOAR (Student Organization for Animal Rights) activists also took over the roof of a McDonald's for about 2 hours. The used the "human octopus" -- bikelocked together -- to frustrate police. Reportedly, after trying several techniques, the fire dept. was called in to use the "jaws of life" to cut activists apart. This all happened on the roof, and observers described it as "mayhem" with as many as 16 people on the roof at one time trying to extricate the SOAR activists. Activists were maced, and sent to the hospital, spending 5 hours to "detox" before being moved to the regular jail and charged with trespassing. They were released, after spending all night in jail, Thursday when a judge let them go on their "own recognizance" (no bail). Activists had refused to pay $100 bail or eat during their stay. The street around the McMurder was closed down when a news helicopter trying to film the scene apparently took out a power wire. There was heavy news coverage, including television, radio and print.


An underground animal rights group, known as the "Band of Mercy," damaged locks and hung the banner: "McDeath: Killing Animals, the Earth and You" during an pre-dawn raid. Damages are unknown at this time. In their message, the group said their action was "part of a nationwide attack on McDonald's, which sells body parts of tortured animals, destroys the environment and sells unhealthy foods...we will continue our actions until the atrocities stop."
The action received coverage on local television and print. It is the first known action by "Band of Mercy" in the U.S. in years.


Activists from Animal Defense League (ADL) virtually closed the McDeath down from Noon to 2 p.m. During the siege, McDonald's was forced to give free food to those who slipped by the gauntlet. One activist clogged the drive thru lane for a while by demanding a veggie burger, and then "losing" his keys in the bushes. Other activists started demanding veggie burgers, outside and inside the restaurant. Even though police told them to leave or be arrested, activists insisted on staying, and no arrests were made. "We stole the breadwinning hours from them," said one ADL activist, who added that other groups joined in on the action -- many for the first time participating in a "direct action." Those groups included Student Environmental Action Coalition, the Anarchist Society, Heartwood. Activists thought it was a great action because of the "unity" between groups, coming together to slam McMurder. There was television coverage locally.


McLibel Support Campaign activists jammed the sidewalks outside a busy McKill, passing out literature and taunting employees and the manager of the store. When the manager quipped he was "Ronald McDonald," activists noted that RM was "a fictitious character" and they didn't have to listen to him. Others agreed the manager did "look like a clown" because of his polkadot tie and pink suit. "Yippy Wild Bill" joined the fracas in the middle of the street, displaying a Eco Flag to bring the message to passersby.


Animal Defense League (ADL) activists hung a banner from the local McDonald's reading, in part: "Special Today: McMurder Deluxe." Ironically, while the manager came out and harangued the activists, the banner hung proudly -- for us -- behind him. For a long, long time. Finally, a customer told the manager what was up. Police were called to the scene, but not before there was a "food fight" caused by rednecks who threw softdrinks at the activists inside the store. Activists repeatedly entered the store, leafleting all customers. The manager had to "escort" activists out. This spirited action also received substantial television coverage.


Twin protests in Riverside, just east of Los Angeles, and San Diego, resulted in no arrests, but significant police interest. Activists from ARDAC/Southern California and other local groups distributed hundreds of pieces of literature at the locations, harassed patrons, managers and police -- and generally just caused trouble. There was no immediate reports of what kind of media coverage was received.

Prepared by: Cres Vellucci, National Activist Network
U.S. McLibel Contact: Mike Durschmid (312) 282-8236

Back to Campaigns

See also: related coverage in Press Index